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Speaking Event – The Nutrition Transition: How Food Choices Are Made

The Nutritional Sciences Program’s Director Adam Drewnowski will speak Thursday, March 15, at Taylor’s Toulouse University Centre on the nutrition transition.

Dr. Drewnowski is the inventor of the Nutrient Rich Foods Index, which rates individual foods based on their overall nutritional value, and the Affordable Nutrition Index, which helps consumers identify affordable healthy foods.

Lecture Summary:

By Adam Drewnowski, leader in the study of obesity and social disparities in diets and health and Director, Center for Public Health Nutrition, University of Washington, USA.

Taste, cost, convenience, health, and dietary variety are the main drivers of food choice. As incomes rise, traditional plant-based diets give way to more varied diets but also more energy-dense foods and more added sugars and vegetable fats. In general, diet quality depends on education and incomes. The protein transition is a special case. Dietary shifts from plant to animal proteins (meat, fish or dairy) are country specific and more dependent on society and culture. Increasing concerns about the environment have led to the creation of new value metrics: nutrients per penny and nutrients per carbon cost. Current dietary habits will determine future diets.

Date & Time: Thursday, March 15, 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Venue: Lecture Theatre 19, Block E, Level 1, Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus, Malaysia

See lecture flyer for full details.

Click here to register.



Nutritional Sciences Program Core Faculty Jessica Jones-Smith sits in her office on the University of Washington campus.

Close Up: Dr. Jessica Jones-Smith

Featured in this month’s Close Up, Dr. Jessica Jones-Smith is a Nutritional Sciences Program core faculty member and the lead organizer for the Collaborative on Obesity Research & Action (CORA).

Read about the journey that brought her here as a strategic hire, her passion for social and economic determinants of health, and the great partners at work in our UW community on the School’s page.

Read the article (SPH News) >


Grilled Cheese Truck for Food Truck Rodeo NUTR 390A Course

Food Truck Rodeo: New UW Course Featured in News

New UW Course Fueled by Food Truck Craze

Over the last few years, more than 4,700 mobile food vendors have rolled into cities and suburbs across the country. They’re serving up everything from fresh fish tacos and pulled pork sandwiches to Korean BBQ, gluten free quinoa bowls and the always-popular fish and chips. Now, University of Washington students can learn about the industry as it relates to the larger food system in a new course from the School of Public Health called “Food Truck Rodeo.”

food truck

 Read the full story (SPH NEWS) >

This class has also been featured on KUOW. Lecturer Anne-Marie Gloster talks about Food Truck Rodeo and the concept of ‘Farm to Fork’.

Listen to the recording (KUOW-FM NPR) >

About the Class

NUTR 390 is a seminar series by the School of Public Health’s Nutritional Sciences Program, which provides opportunities for students to examine diverse perspectives on current food, culinary, and food system issues from production, processing, and marketing to consumption, nutrition, and health. This quarter the focus is on the mobile food industry: Food Truck Rodeo (FTR). FTR seeks to examine the history, culture, and issues of social justice within the mobile food industry, including but not limited to everything food on bike, kiosk, or truck. Subsequently, FTR will explore the challenging issues around starting and operating a mobile food business by listening to experts in the field. Student teams will create a virtual food truck concept based on what they are exposed to in the class lectures, readings, and visits to local food trucks.


ASPPH Highlights Collaborative on Obesity Research and Action (CORA)

In observance of Healthy Weight Week (January 20 – 26), the Association of Schools & Programs in Public Health highlighted what their members are currently doing in regards to the overwhelming levels of obesity around us. This includes our affiliated project, the Collaborative on Obesity Research and Action (CORA) at UW. The recent soda tax study featured here is one of many projects conducted by CORA. Since 2016, CORA has convened more than 40 experts to address the biological, social, economic, and environmental issues that underlie chronic disease. “CORA investigators are testing and evaluating innovative approaches to preventing and treating obesity,” said NSP core faculty member Jesse Jones-Smith.

“The goals for the next year are to foster continued collaboration and to provide an intellectual hub for the many obesity researchers across the Seattle-based research institutions.” Dr. Jones-Smith said.

Read the full article on ASPPH

Learn more about CORA
Follow CORA on FB for the latest research updates

soda bottles

Jesse Jones-Smith Co-Leads Study of Soda-tax Impact on Seattle Health, Economics

Researchers from public health, social work and public policy will examine whether buying and drinking habits change.

How will we know if Seattle’s new soda tax, which takes effect Jan. 1, actually reduces the consumption of sugary drinks? University of Washington researchers have been tasked with finding out, under a four-year study funded by the City of Seattle.

A multi-disciplinary team, led by obesity epidemiologist Jesse Jones-Smith of the UW School of Public Health and Nadine Chan of Public Health – Seattle & King County, will assess how the new tax changes buying and drinking habits over the next few years. Overconsumption of soda and sugary drinks is a leading cause of obesity in the United States and has been linked to diabetes and other health problems.

Seattle’s new tax would raise the price of a 12-ounce can of soda by 21 cents, and would be applied to energy drinks and some fruit beverages, but not to diet soda. The bulk of revenues raised through the tax will be focused toward reducing socioeconomic and health disparities, expanding access to healthy food, and job retraining for workers adversely affected. “It is rare to be able to rigorously evaluate policies as they are implemented,” said Dr. Jones-Smith, associate professor of health services and of epidemiology, and core faculty member in the Nutritional Sciences Program.“ This is a great instance of the City of Seattle prioritizing rigorous research so that we can learn about policy impacts – and adjust if needed.”

The City of Seattle will provide $500,000 annually for four years for the research. The project is a collaboration across units, including the School of Public Health, School of Social Work and Evans School of Public Policy & Governance. The School of Social Work and the Evans School will lead the analysis of the tax impact on jobs and store revenues. Seattle Children’s Research Institute will take part in the multi-disciplinary team and researchers will include advice from a consortium of experts on tax. In addition, a Seattle-based Community Advisory Board has been involved in planning the evaluation and will continue to provide input over the course of the evaluation.

Determining the impact of policy tools on people’s habits, such as taxing sugary drinks, could guide decision-makers toward policies with positive community health impact. In January, Seattle will be the seventh U.S. locality to have a soda tax policy, joining Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland and Albany, California; and Boulder, Colorado. Mexico passed a similar tax in 2014.

Previous studies have looked at the overall effect of a tax. A 2015 study estimated that Mexicans bought 9.7 percent less sugary drinks than they would have before a tax, and saw a larger drop in purchases among the poorest households. The UW study is unique in its focus on lower-income children and households that regularly consume sugary beverages.

The project has four goals:

  • Determine the effectiveness of the tax on drink consumption and attitudes around consumption of sugary beverages.
  • Assess how well the tax is implemented.
  • Look at unintended consequences (e.g., employment and business revenues issues, or consumers going outside Seattle to buy beverages).
  • Understand food access issues in Seattle (e.g., food deserts and food bank networks).

“Long term, we’ll want to know if this tax has an impact on lower-income populations, and if it has any impact that is similar or different on the general population,” Dr. Jones-Smith said. “That will inform policy so we can get the most public health benefit out of it.”

Since the Seattle City Council voted on the tax in June, researchers have seized opportunities to gather pre-tax implementation data, and to observe behaviors in areas where the tax will go into effect. In the coming months, the team will have a chance to observe local beverage consumption changes as they happen. They will also survey residents about their views on sugary beverage consumption and healthfulness, analyze store revenues, and review job data. They plan to release preliminary observations based on short-term analyses around mid-2018 to help turn research into action.

This study also includes work by NSP faculty members Marian Neuhouser and Mary Podrabsky, and NSP graduate students.


MEDIA CONTACT:  via UW Medicine Media Relations,, 206.543.3620

IPE December Featured Faculty Member: Michelle Averill

The Nutritional Sciences Program’s core faculty member Michelle Averill is the Center for Health Sciences Interprofessional Education, Research and Practice (CHSIE)’s featured faculty member of the month. Dr. Averill is a lecturer, researcher, and clinical coordinator for the Graduate Coordinated Program in Dietetics. She is also President Elect for the Northwest Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, and serves as a faculty representative on the UW Health Sciences Interprofessional Education (IPE) Steering Committee, developing new IPE curricula and planning IPE events for health sciences students.

Michelle Averill, PhD, RD has been at the University of Washington since 1999. Her background is in cellular/molecular biology, nutritional sciences and dietetics.

Read the article about her career and IPE experience

Varanasi, India - October 28, 2010: Local women selling fruits and vegetables on the streets of Varanasi.

Aligning Food Systems with Nutrition and Health

It’s official! The theme of our Winter 2018 Nutrition Seminar:

Aligning Food Systems with Nutrition and Health

The challenge of feeding nine billion people in year 2050 is not just about producing sufficient calories. It is about making sure that food systems produce sufficient nutrient-rich foods that are affordable, accessible, culturally appropriate, have low impact on the environment, and have positive impact on health and nutrition outcomes. The current problem, as aptly quoted in the 2017 IFPRI Global Nutrition Report, is that “millions of people have too much of the wrong food, while millions more have too little of the right food”.  Almost every country in the world is facing a malnutrition challenge, in the form of undernutrition, overnutrition, or both.

Building connections between the key components of food systems — nutrition-sensitive agriculture, food production and processing, consumption patterns, nutrition status and population health — is the main theme of this seminar series. This series will bring together leading experts from public and private sectors to address these challenging issues at both global and local levels.

Schedule of speakers available here (last update: 1/19/2018)

The seminar is open to all UW students, faculty and staff.  Students may register for NUTR 400 (SLN 18490, undergraduates) or NUTR 500 (SLN 18495, graduates).

See NSP calendar event listings.
See previous seminar schedules .

NSP Faculty Leads Child Care Policy Mapping Effort

Mapping the Policy Landscape: Visualizing Nutrition Regulations in Early Childhood Care and Education

This Fall’s issue of design magazine Arcade includes an article by NSP’s Assistant Professor Jennifer Otten in collaboration with Tad Hirsch of Northeastern University. It’s out on newsstands now, and the article itself is available as of today online. Check out their discussion on using policy visualizations to illustrate complex systems, and exploring how policy systems might better support public health nutrition.

Go to article

Behind-the-scenes peek at a policy map in the making. Photo by: Jennifer Otten, 2017.
Behind-the-scenes peek at a policy map in the making. Photo by: Jennifer Otten, 2017.

Now Hiring for a Lecturer or Senior Lecturer

The UW Nutritional Sciences Program is hiring for a full-time lecturer or senior lecturer position in the areas of food systems, nutrition, and population health with a special focus in one or more of the following areas: social justice, environmental health, occupational health, culture, human and agriculture sustainability, economics, community food security, and policy. Candidates should demonstrate a record of interdisciplinary teaching and scholarly activity as well as a commitment to educational innovation and leadership, including experience with active learning methodologies and successful collaboration with academic and community partners within and outside of the university. The position will have responsibility for teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, mentoring students, and active participation in service to the Program, appointing Department, and community.

Applications received by November 30, 2017, will receive priority consideration.

Anticipated start date is March 1, 2018.

Job code: #AA26178

See full details (same as listed on UW Academic HR).

Beth Ogata Receives Excellence in Practice Award

Beth Ogata, MS, RD, CSP, CD recently received the Excellence in Practice Award from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Individuals for this nationally-recognized award were selected by the Academy’s Honors Committee and Board of Directors and given the award on-site at the 2017 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo. Ms. Ogata received this award for her work in clinical nutrition in recognition of outstanding service and contributions to the nutrition and dietetics profession.

Exemplifying leadership as a practitioner in the field of Dietetics, she has supervised nutrition fellows in the Cristine M. Trahms Program for Phenylketonuria (PKU) Clinic and Biochemical Genetics, as well as in the Infant Development Follow-up Clinic. Ms. Ogata has worked on a number of distance learning projects and developed several self-study, web-based curricula, including “Nutrition for Children with Special Health Care Needs,” “Nutrition & Oral Health For Children,” and “First Steps Nutrition Modules.” She is also involved with Assuring Pediatric Nutrition in the Community as co-chair of the annual conference and as a consultant.

As a core faculty member of the Nutritional Sciences Program, she teaches NUTR 526 (Maternal, Infant, and Pediatric Nutrition) and is a guest lecturer for several other Nutritional Sciences courses. Ms. Ogata’s faculty appointment is through the UW School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics.

Congratulations, Beth!

Go to award details

University of Washington Practitioners Anne Lund, Beth Ogata & Sharon Feucht pose with the Excellence in Practice Award at the 2017 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo in Chicago, IL.
University of Washington Registered Dietitians Anne Lund, Beth Ogata & Sharon Feucht pose with the Excellence in Practice Award at the 2017 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo in Chicago, IL. Photo credit: Anne Lund.